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Negative emissions and the long history of carbon removal

Tree plantations. Mostphotos.
Tree plantations. Mostphotos.

Large-scale carbon dioxide removal (CDR), is increasingly seen as a key component of climate change mitigation pathways that limit warming to 1.5C or 2C.  CDR approaches tend to be frames as novel and untested, and mostly focuses on hypothetical future scenarios. Yet CDR has a longer and, in many ways, more tangible history than this framing suggests – the lessons of which are largely overlooked in much of the current debate. 

In a new paper LUCSUS researcher Wim Caron and Jens Friis Lund (Copenhagen University), review the history of Large scale carbon dioxide removal and draw out some key lessons for scaling up implementation of CDR.

The researchers argue that research and policy on negative emissions should proceed not just from projections of the future, but also from an acknowledgement of past controversies, successes and failures. In particular, the review calls attention to the irreducibly political character of carbon removal imaginaries and accounting practices and urges acknowledgement of past experiences with the implementation of (small‐scale) carbon sequestration projects.

Blog post in CarbonBrief: Learning from the contentious history of ‘carbon removal’

Read the article "Negative emissions and the long history of carbon removal" published in WIREs Climate Change


About the Researcher

Wim Carton

Wim Carton is a Human Geographer with a background in Development Studies, International Relations and History. His main academic objective is to help understand society-nature relations, and how these are changed and articulated through various sustainability challenges. His primary research focus is on the political ecology of climate change mitigation in carbon forestry and agriculture, and related discussions on negative emissions in climate policy.

To Wim Carton's personal staff page.